John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Watercolor, graphite, and gouache on off-white wove paper
20 15/16 x 8 15/16 in. (53.2 x 22.7 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950
Not on view
In 1921, Sargent accepted a commission to paint a pair of mural panels for the stairway of Harvard University’s Widener Memorial Library to commemorate alumni who fought and died in World War I. This watercolor represents the final composition of one of the panels, "Death and Victory." Sargent’s allegorical representation shows a soldier, at center, who clutches the ascendant figure of Victory as he is weighed down by the shrouded figure of Death. This study was designed to fit into an architectural rendering of the library, probably to provide a general impression of how the murals would look in situ.
Inscription: [on verso at top]: #6; [at bottom]: 5464 [encricled]
the artist, until d. 1925; his sisters, Mrs. Francis Ormond (Violet Sargent) and Miss Emily Sargent, until 1936 (Emily Sargent's death); Mrs. Francis Ormond, until 1950